Develop Effective Health Communication Skills

To prepare students for 21st-century roles in healthcare marketing, public and media relations, digital and integrated health communication, education, promotion, and advocacy, Boston University’s Metropolitan College and College of Communication offer the Master of Science in Health Communication (MSHC)—now with two new concentration options:

Healthcare issues affect people worldwide and can range from health system reform to environmental crises, to public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. United States Census Bureau data shows that one in five Americans will be 65 or older by 2034, while a report by Technavio shows that the value of the global health and wellness market is poised to grow by $1,299.8 billion through 2024. The impact of digital technology in healthcare will continue to reverberate, with venture funding for health tech innovators at $14 billion in 2020 and expected to increase, according to Deloitte. In fact, healthcare industries will be among those growing the fastest through 2029, according to The Economics Daily (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 2020). Whether driven by growth or disruption, healthcare organizations and the many affiliated health and wellness businesses will all need professional health communicators.

BU’s Health Communication master’s provides the essential skills, strategic insights, and up-to-the-minute industry knowledge required to navigate and interpret evolving information about healthcare, enabling you to provide informed messaging that cuts through the conflicting data, misinformation, and jargon that confuse the public. In order to prepare you to execute an effective and responsible communication strategy, BU’s program will help you develop a holistic understanding of biosystems and disease, the social and cultural determinants of public health, the American healthcare system, and epidemiology—ensuring that you have the critical ability to communicate information in a way both the media and the public can understand.

Program at a Glance

  • Online
  • 32 Credits
  • 16–18 Months to Completion
  • 13 Faculty
  • No Capstone Required
  • Tuition & Fees—Part-Time Study*: $24,080

*Based on 2023–2024 Boston University tuition and fees. Merit scholarship may reduce cost.

Advance Your Career as a Professional Health Communicator

Open to students of any major but geared toward professionals with a background in healthcare, public relations, journalism, marketing communication, or public health education, Boston University’s MS in Health Communication provides a comprehensive health education that prepares you for professional communication roles that make a difference and have the potential to save lives. Learn how to develop effective communication campaigns, tackle tough healthcare issues, improve health literacy, and provide valuable information to the media, the public, and other critical stakeholders. The Health Communication master’s program ensures that you develop leadership skills in the emerging fields of healthcare marketing, public relations, health literacy, crisis management, and social marketing—paving the way to careers within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and health insurance industries; consumer- and business-facing corporations; government agencies; healthcare organizations, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers; marketing and PR firms; nonprofit organizations; and with other employers seeking to advocate for, educate, and influence diverse audiences in the context of health and wellness.

BU’s Health Communication program is unique, offered 100% online with asynchronous learning while integrating communication and healthcare content in each course.

Awards & Accreditations

The elective course Visual Communication in the Digital Health Age (MET HC 762) received the 2017 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Teaching & Learning—a global honor recognizing excellence in delivering students a flexible, innovative online learning experience.

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“The Master of Science in Health Communication (MSHC) program offered exactly what I was looking for: an immersive, online platform that allowed me to really dive deeply into digital learning. It also inadvertently enriched my education when the COVID-19 crisis gave us proof that remote learning is not only possible but vital for the healthcare sector.”Andrew M. Korda (MET’21), Graduate Assistant for Children’s Programming and Figure Skating, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Department (PERD), Boston University

Why Earn Your Master’s in Health Communication at Boston University?

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Healthcare Communication

The Master of Science in Health Communication (MSHC)—developed in 2008 by Boston University’s Metropolitan College and College of Communication—was the first degree of its type to be offered fully online. The MSHC is part of BU’s Health Communication program, which also includes the Graduate Certificate in Foundations of Health Communication, the Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Promotion, Media & Marketing, and the Graduate Certificate in Visual & Digital Health Communication.

Designed for professional health communicators and those looking to transition into the field, BU’s Health Communication program offers a multidisciplinary curriculum that focuses on the intersection of healthcare, marketing, health literacy, public relations, and digital media in order to prepare students for the breadth of issues they will encounter as health communicators—from medical breakthroughs and the development of new products to government policies and public health challenges, and many others.

Taught by full-time university professors and leading professionals practicing in the field, coursework is practical and immediately applicable on the job. The program faculty create a dynamic learning environment by blending theory, practice, and scholarship in every course. The program curriculum, offered fully online, is designed to broaden and deepen students’ understanding of communications, PR, marketing, health sciences, and public health, as well as issues of privacy, regulation, ethics, health equity, and cultural humility.

Health Communication Concentration Options

BU MET’s MS in Health Communication degree program offers concentrations in:

Graduate with Expertise in Healthcare Communication

Metropolitan College’s Health Communication master’s degree will equip you to:

  • Employ communication strategy, methods, and technology to communicate information, influence audiences, or affect change on health-related topics and issues.
  • Evaluate the value and significance of traditional, social, and digital media practice in the health communication field.
  • Demonstrate competence in communicating about healthcare, including how to develop purpose-driven, audience-specific materials.
  • Understand and apply ethical and socially responsible health communication practices and strategies that consider privacy, regulatory, and legal issues specific to the healthcare industry.
  • Interpret and apply basic communication research fundamentals to the field of health communication.
  • Analyze, synthesize, interpret, and present health and scientific information using clear and concise messaging for public, media, and/or stakeholder consumption.

Certificate-to-Degree Pathway

BU MET graduate certificate programs can serve as building blocks to a master’s degree. Each certificate shares specific courses with the master’s in Health Communication program and its concentrations, giving you the option to take one or two certificates on your path to a master’s degree. Students currently enrolled in a graduate certificate who are interested in transitioning into a master’s degree should contact their academic advisor to declare their interest in this pathway. A new master’s degree application is not required. Connect with a graduate admissions advisor at metmshc@bu.edu to learn more about this option.

The following online graduate certificate programs can be applied to the master’s degree: Foundations of Health Communication; Healthcare Promotion, Media & Marketing; and Visual & Digital Health Communication. You can pair the Foundations of Health Communication certificate with either the Healthcare Promotion, Media & Marketing certificate or the Visual & Digital Health Communication certificate to earn the MSHC with the corresponding master’s concentration.

Boston University’s online Master of Science in Health Communication consists of eight required online courses (32 credits).

Core Courses

(Four courses/16 credits)

Required Courses

(Four courses/16 credits)

Students who are not choosing a concentration must select four courses from the following lists, as indicated.

Choose one of the following:

And choose three of the following:


Health Communication Faculty

  • Justin Joseph
    Justin Joseph

    Program Director, Health Communication

    Associate Professor of the Practice, Public Relations, Boston University College of Communication

    MS, Boston University; MA, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; BS, Boston University

  • Felipe Agudelo Acevedo
    Felipe Agudelo Acevedo

    Lecturer

    Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine

    PhD, DePaul University; MPH, National School of Public Health, Universidad de Antioquía, Colombia; BEng, Universidad de Antioquía, Colombia

 

Tuition & Financial Assistance

Competitive Tuition

Our part-time rates are substantially lower than those of the traditional, full-time residential programs yet provide access to the same high-quality BU education.

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Comprehensive Financial Assistance

Our services include scholarships, graduate loans, and payment plans.

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Tuition, fees, and total program cost are determined by enrollment status. Course enrollment in this program is 1–2 courses (4–8 credits) in a semester, and tuition is charged as a part-time per-credit rate.

MS in Health Communication (Online)

Enrollment Status Part Time
Courses per Semester 2 courses
(8 credits)
Time to Degree 4 semesters
(16 months)
Tuition* $535-$955
per credit**
Fees per Semester* $60
Total Degree Cost* $24,080

*Based on 2023–2024 Boston University tuition & fee rates.
**Cost per credit is determined by course number (100–599 = $535/credit, 600–999 = $955/credit).

Questions? Please contact us to hear from an Admissions Advisor who can help you determine the best enrollment pathway. For information regarding financial aid, visit BU MET’s Financial Aid page.

Get Started

Please visit the BU MET admissions page for details on how to apply, financial assistance, tuition and fees, requirements for international students, and more.

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News & Events

Events

May 1st, 2024 at: 2:00pm - 2:45pm

Financing your BU MET Graduate Education (for DOMESTIC students)

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Events

May 1st, 2024 at: 5:00pm - 6:00pm

Third Annual Daniel Ranalli Lecture

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Events

May 8th, 2024 at: 1:00pm - 1:45pm

Online Graduate Study at Boston University

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